Saturday, November 15, 2014

Montessori-Inspired Nutcracker Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

My daughter was a dancer from the time she was little. So, The Nutcracker became a part of our Christmas season. In honor of that tradition, I want to share some ideas for creating Montessori-inspired activities using free Nutcracker printables.
Montessori-Inspired Nutcracker Activities Using Free Printables  

The Nutcracker can be difficult for preschoolers to understand, but it's helpful to share a Nutcracker book and activities for preschoolers who are exposed to the Nutcracker ballet because of older siblings or those who are already taking ballet classes. A number of these activities work well through early elementary and add to older children's appreciation and understanding of The Nutcracker

I shared a list of free Nutcracker printables in my post today at Living Montessori Now. Here, I've created some Nutcracker activities using free printables for preschoolers through first graders. You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools.  

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Illustrating the Nutcracker Activity

  Illustrating the Nutcracker Activity This activity could work well for a wide range of ages. It only requires printed out pages from the free Illustrating Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker by Sally of Elementary Matters at Teachers Pay Teachers along with colored pencils (or another art medium) and a stapler or another way to bind the pages. 

 I included a copy of The Nutcracker as a way to help children understand the story. I used a classic version of The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann (retold by Anthea Bell) with lovely illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger. The E.T.A. Hoffmann story of the Nutcracker is different from the ballet, so you'll want to choose whichever version of The Nutcracker is best for your child or students. 

You could either have the materials available on a shelf or on a table similar to the one in my photo.  

Nutcracker Craft Using a Paper Tube 

  Nutcracker Craft Using Paper Tubes 

For this activity, I used Nutcracker Cut-Outs Using Tissue Paper Rolls from Mary Engelbreit. I show the Nutcracker craft here, although you can also create Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King. I placed everything on a Multicraft tray. The sequins are for the crown. This is a fun activity and works on a number of fine-motor skills, too. 

Tray for Making Nutcracker Decorations
  Tray for Making Nutcracker Decorations 

This tray uses the free Holiday Bookmarks: Featuring the Nutcracker by Exploring Elementary at Teachers Pay Teachers. I also used printables for Nutcracker ornaments from Nutcracker Decorations at Hugo L'Escargot. 

I printed these on cardstock for durability.Your child could help you laminate the finished ornaments or bookmarks as gifts. Here's the link to my favorite laminator.

Ballet Slipper Color Matching Activity 

Ballet Slipper Color Matching Activity 

This is a fun extension to the Montessori color tablets for preschoolers! It uses Ballet Slipper Color Matching from 1+1+1=1 and Color Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop (which can be used as a substitute for the Montessori Color Box 2). 

Both the Montessori Print Shop materials and the color-matching ballet slippers from 1+1+1=1 follow the Montessori principle of isolation of quality

Ballet Slipper Color Matching Layout  

I used a Montessori Services rug for my layout. 

"One Less" Ballet Subtraction Activity 

  "One Less" Ballet Subtraction Activity 
Renae from Every Star is Different has a wonderful Nutcracker unit study. "One Less" uses the Ballet One Less printable from that unit. I added a tweezers to some sequin snowflakes to add fine-motor activity. 

Greater Than, Less Than Nutcracker Activity

  Nutcracker Greater Than, Less Than Tray 
I'm a fan of the Greater Than, Less Than Alligator. This activity is a creative extension to that concept using a free printable Nutcracker Number Game from Preschool Mom. 

Printable nutcrackers are included for the greater than, less than symbols. I decided to use a real nutcracker. You could actually use real nuts rather than the printables to show the nutcracker eating the greater quantity. 

I like that this activity extends the greater than, less than alligator idea to become an image closer to the actual greater than, less than symbols. 

Greater Than, Less Than Nutcracker Layout

More Free Christmas Tree Printables and Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to Nutcracker freebies from around the blogosphere: Free Nutcracher Printables and Montessori-Inspired Nutcracker Activities.
You'll find lots of Montessori-inspired December holiday activities and ideas in these posts at Living Montessori Now: Activity of the Week – Montessori-Inspired Decorating the Christmas Tree Activity, Activity of the Week – Gift Wrapping Work, How to Use Godly Play at Home During Advent, December Family Activities, Turning Christmas Crafts into Montessori-Oriented Activities, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities, 50+ December Family Activities, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities (Part 2), Holiday Manners, How to Prepare a Special Kids’ Table for Holiday Gatherings, Homeschool Christmas, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Playdough Activities, 40+ Christmas Countdown Activities, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Crafts, Montessori-Inspired Nativity Activities, Montessori-Inspired Hanukkah Activities, Christmas Around the World: Scotland, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities and Free Christmas Printables, 40+ Christmas Sensory Tubs, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Scavenger Hunt, Montessori-Inspired Kids’ Gift Wrapping Activities, Hundreds of December Holiday Activities for Kids, Christmas Countdown Activities {with Lots of Free Printables}, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Cards and Crafts, Montessori-Inspired Set-Ups for Christmas Playdough Activities, Christmas Gingerbread Man Fine-Motor Activity or Craft, Montessori-Inspired Christmas Craft – Painted Wooden Ornaments, Free Christmas Tree Printables and Montessori-Inspired Christmas Tree Activities.
Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBookIf you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12.

 Have a happy upcoming holiday season!
Deb - SigantureLiving Montessori Now Button  
Deb Chitwood 
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 39 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and baby granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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